At the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Anthony Joshua had to work harder than expected to keep hold of his WBA and IBF Heavyweight straps before stopping Carlos Takam in the 10th round. With the victory, Joshua retains not only two versions of the championship, but the Heavyweight scene’s most intimidating slate, now boasting 20 knockouts in as many fights.
The action was more competitive and grittier than advertised, with an accidental headbutt – which broke Joshua’s nose – deviating from the script in the 2nd. Joshua was mixing with an awkward, granite-chinned, slippery customer, but soon did more than even the score, bloodying Takam’s left eye badly with a clean punch, before scoring the sole knockdown of the fight in the 4th. Amidst some trying, energy-sapping rounds, Joshua eventually prompted the powers of the referee in the 10th following a cluster of heavy blows.
But Takam, who fell to 35 wins, 4 defeats, 1 draw, 27 knockouts, deserves due credit for his performance tonight. It was, at the very least, a moral victory. The 36-year-old Takam – a late replacement for an injured Kubrat Pulev – employed effective mobility and sharp fundamentals, not to mention an unbreakable will. While some may question tonight’s stoppage, it was pretty evident that Takam was taking the far greater punishment in a fight that (from a scorecard perspective) he simply wasn’t close to leading.
But now we look forward as Joshua advances closer to an inevitable KO artist clash with WBC champ, Deontay Wilder. Inevitable because the public demand is so high for that matchup, with multi-million dollar retirement purses surely guaranteed for both men. If Joshua vs Wilder can come together in 2018, Heavyweight boxing’s booming return will certainly continue to deliver (so long as Wilder isn’t upset next weekend in his rematch with Bermane Stiverne). In the meantime, check out our Heavyweight Top 10 for a full view of today’s landscape.
Joshua vs Takam: Undercard
- Dillian Whyte (22-1, 16 KO) conquered a cagey, predominantly negative Robert Helenius (25-2, 16 KO), comfortably seizing their Heavyweight 12-rounder on scores of 119-109 (twice), 118-110.
- Kal Yafai (23-0, 14 KO) successfully defended his WBA Junior Bantamweight strap against game visitor Sho Ishida (24-1, 13 KO), winning a hard-fought scrap tallied at 118-110, 116-112 (twice).
- Katie Taylor (7-0, 4 KO) dropped two-weight champion Anahi Sanchez (17-3, 9 KO) in the 2nd round en route to capturing the vacant WBA Lightweight title from unanimous scores.
- Frank Buglioni (21-2-1, 15 KO) held on to his British Light Heavyweight title after unanimously outpointing Craig Richards (10-1, 4 KO), extending his winning streak to four since suffering a grueling defeat with Fedor Chudinov back in 2015.
- Joshua Buatsi (3-0, 2 KO) was denied his third straight knockout after Saidou Sall (10-7-2, 4 KO) went the distance in their 6-round Light Heavyweight encounter, albeit a one-sided one at 60-54 on the referee’s lone scorecard.
- Lawrence Okolie (6-0, 5 KO) wasted no time in his Cruiserweight meeting with Adam Williams (1-2, 0 KO), bagging a 1st round stoppage.
Give us your take on Joshua vs Takam below, the rest of the stacked Cardiff card, plus where the consensus Heavyweight ruler Anthony Joshua should head next.